The COVID-19 outbreak has proved that the internet is not a luxury but a basic necessity. The internet has become an ever more crucial link in adapting to the new normal, and Wi-Fi is seeing an inevitable surge of all time. With networks getting so big and complex, the challenges in managing the network are getting more and more difficult. Wi-Fi Troubleshooting is one of the crucial challenges faced by network admins, involving complex data collection from various sources, followed by an intense analysis of the huge data to resolve the problem.

What if you possess a magic goggle?
A goggle that offers 360 views of the network.
A goggle that offers see-through power to uncover the cause of the problem.
A goggle that offers foresees power to predict an issue even before it occurs.

Introducing Intelligent Capture

Intelligent Capture is a built-in, enhanced issue detection and root-cause-analysis forensic capture solution, which makes the wireless troubleshooting process a lot easier with the ready-to-use packet captures, historical data charts, and self-diagnosed anomaly events.

Intelligent Capture

As the name says, these data are intelligent that it masks all the complexities of Wi-Fi troubleshooting by presenting right and relevant data to root cause the issues faster, even if the client roams between the Access Points.

Solution Components – The Three Gears

Intelligent Capture ComponentsIntelligent Capture solution comprises of Cisco DNA Center, Wireless LAN Controllers, and Cisco Access Points.

Design: The Cisco DNA Center offers a centralized, intuitive management system that makes it fast and easy to design, provision, and apply the policies on the controllers.

Deploy: The WLAN Controller deploys and manages the policies across the access points.

Operate: The Access Points operate on the policies by streaming the critical data to the Cisco DNA Center which is correlated with the events from the controller offering 360 views of the network.

The Cisco DNA Center intuitive UI provides end-to-end network visibility and live technical insight into various wireless metrics from both the client and access point perspective

Solution Categories – The Two Faces

Intelligent Capture solution is offered under two categories.

Intelligent Capture Categories

  • AP Stats Capture: Always-on real-time RF monitoring service, offers an in-depth analytical view of various wireless metrics related to an AP’s radio. The trend view of historical metrics gives insight into why users experience poor signal, low throughout, and onboarding failures
  • Spectrum Analysis: On-demand service, render charts on Channel and Interference, detailing the spectrum activities in the RF environment surrounding an AP.
  • Live Capture: On-demand service, needed for troubleshooting a client onboarding failure in live time. This solution captures the management frames when a client joins and leaves the network. In addition to the packet capture, the access point also offers client statistics at a 5-second frequency for easy root cause analysis. This feature can target up to 16 clients at once.
  • Scheduled Capture: On-demand service, required to triage a client join issue that occurs recursively at a specific time of the day. This solution offers the capability to schedule Live capture for a specific date and time. Furthermore, the user can control the length of the scheduling session from 30 minutes to 8 hours. This feature allows you to schedule up to 12 sessions at once.
  • Data Capture: On-demand service, used for troubleshooting a client who is experiencing poor network performance with low throughput and onboarding failure. This feature provides the most granular packet capture than live capture offering both management and unencrypted data frames to analyze the issue in detail. This feature runs exclusively for a single client at once.
  • Anomaly Stats Capture: Always-on service, proactively monitors the network and raises an anomaly in the event of failure. This feature notifies users with an immediate understanding of any client onboarding issue that has occurred, provides analysis, and presents a packet capture depicting the incident as proof.

Going Above and Beyond – The One Intelligence

Time Travel:  The Intelligent Capture solution is not limited to troubleshooting present issues, but it also stretches to the past and into the future.

  • Past: Offers the capability to travel up to 14 days in the past to revisit the exact moment when everything went wrong. Pinpoint the cause and take action to prevent it from ever happening again.
  • Future: Analytics on the enormous real-time and historical data helps in predicting the problem even before they arise.

Packet Stitching: The Intelligent Capture is not restricted to packet capture, but it also extends to packet stitching. In a client roaming scenario, the Cisco DNA Center manages to capture the packets from all the APs involved in the client movement trail.  The packets from multiple sources are stitched internally and return as a single concatenated file to the Cisco DNA Center for an easy download.

Intelligent Capture Solution

Unlock the Power of Wi-Fi 6

Wi-Fi 6 is opening new possibilities with a more consistent and dependable network connection that will deliver speeds up to four times faster with four times the capacity. Improved speed, capacity, and control will support existing applications with greater performance and drive new innovations.  Wi-Fi 6 began its ramp-up, and the market will soon start seeing large numbers of devices in Wi-Fi 6. Therefore, it is important to prepare your network for the new standard to gain all the benefits that Wi-Fi 6 offers.

Intelligent Capture combined with other Cisco DNA Assurance solutions unlocks the power of the Wi-Fi 6, by offering the exclusive Wi-Fi6 Dashboard which provides a visual representation of your wireless network showcasing the Wi-Fi 6 Readiness, and the efficiency of the Wi-Fi 6 networks compared to non-Wi-Fi 6 networks.

Notes from Hands-On Experiences

Cisco deployments and Pilot programs heavily utilize Cisco DNA Assurance’s Intelligent Capture to troubleshoot their network issues.  One notable experience from the field is where Intelligent Capture resolved the client disconnection/dropout issue by highlighting the missing response from the client for the AP’s request during roaming.

Customer VoiceYour Eyes Need It

Instead of scrambling through the data or trying to replicate the issue, pick the magic goggles and with the see-through power find and resolve any complicated wireless issues in record time!

Refer to our deployment guide to design and deploy the Intelligent Capture in your network, and watch the video for a demo.


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Alli Annamalai

Senior Software Engineer

Intent-Based Networking Group/Wireless